North Korea fires missile over Japan
North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Friday, responding to new UN sanctions with what appeared to be its furthest-ever missile flight amid high tensions over its weapons programs.
The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations Security Council imposed an eighth set of measures on the isolated country following its sixth nuclear test earlier this month, AFP wrote.
It was by far its largest to date and Pyongyang said it was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.
In New York, the Security Council called an emergency meeting.
The US Pacific Command confirmed Friday’s rocket was an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) and said it did not pose a threat to North America or to the US Pacific territory of Guam, which Pyongyang has threatened to bracket with “enveloping fire.”
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it probably traveled around 3,700 kilometers and reached a maximum altitude of 770 kilometers.
The North’s last missile launch, a Hwasong-12 IRBM just over two weeks ago, also overflew Japan’s main islands and was the first to do so for years.
But when Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July that appeared to bring much of the US mainland into range, it fired them on lofted trajectories that avoided passing over the archipelago nation.
Millions of Japanese were jolted awake by blaring sirens and emergency text message alerts after the missile was fired.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo could “never tolerate” what he called a “dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace.”
“If North Korea continues to walk down this path, it has no bright future,” he told reporters. “We must make North Korea understand this.”
In response to the launch, South Korea’s military immediately carried out a ballistic missile drill of its own, the Defense Ministry said, adding it took place while the North’s rocket was still airborne.